When people think of a fence, it's usually the white-picket variety, incorporating narrow slabs of wood attached at a distance with spaces in between them. Although straw bale fences are more compacted and seem less airy, those who have them appreciate their ability to regulate temperatures and sounds more efficiently. In addition, straw--technically the stalks that remain once grains are harvested--is extremely friendly to the environment because it is a natural waste product.
People have constructed buildings with natural materials for a long time, but the popularity of using straw specifically has steadily increased as concerns about protecting the environment have attracted international attention. The advent of machines capable of easily forming the stalks into tightly packed, dense bundles increases the appeal of using straw bales in construction while also making the option more affordable and logical in certain areas of the world where straw is abundant.
Straw bales are an excellent choice for ecologically conscious individuals because the bundles are renowned for their superior insulation, sound-proofing and non-toxic properties, as well as their strength and durability. The material's ability to help regulate temperatures and impede sounds from penetrating stems comes from the density bales have after they are compacted. As a result, fences constructed from straw bales can allow property owners to save significantly on both heating and cooling costs, and also create an environment that is more peaceful and safe.
Building a straw bale fence is best accomplished with several people helping to lift, place and secure the bundles. First, property owners should speak with an expert in straw bale construction to determine the exact requirements for the project based on desired size of the fence, geography, local weather conditions, financial requirements and available materials. You should also ask local authorities if a permit is required.
After taking care of preliminary details and deciding if a brick, concrete, rock or sand foundation is best, you must dig to the required depth in the ground to ensure a stable footing for the future structure. Next, stack the straw bales side by side on top of plastic placed over the foundation to prevent moisture seepage from the ground. The individual bales should be secured with rebar first and then with either chicken wire or stucco netting around the entire fence, capped with a layer of material on top, such as steel, to reinforce and protect the fence from above.
Straw is an ideal building material from an environmental standpoint because it is a natural waste product that exacts no ecological cost to procure or use. However, a fence constructed of such a renewable product not only meshes well with an ecologically conscious lifestyle, it also helps save property owners money as a result of straw's longevity, advanced temperature-control properties, and ability to buffer sound.
Straw is highly susceptible to moisture damage, which requires property owners who use the material in outdoor construction to use extra caution to ensure its dryness. If they don't, seepage will ultimately make the fence unstable and subject to rot, which defeats the purpose of building one in the first place.